Orion's 25th Season Concludes With Quintessential Quintets In May

Orion's 25th Season Concludes With Quintessential Quintets In MayTo conclude its 25th anniversary season, The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, welcomes back guest violist Stephen Boe and guest violinist Mathias Tacke for "Quintessential Quintets."

Performances take place May 13 at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church; May 23 at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago; and May 27 at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. The programCarl Maria von Weber's Quintet in B-flat Major for clarinet and string quartet, Op. 34 shows the clarinet in a variety of expressive moods, ranging from lyrical beauty to concerto virtuosity and operatic drama. Composed for the famed clarinetist Heinrich Baermann, this work captures the emotionalism of the early 19th century while celebrating late 18th century elegance.

Antonín Dvo?ák initially composed what became his Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81 as his Piano Quintet Op. 5. But the composer remained dissatisfied with the piece and destroyed the original manuscript. In 1887, Dvo?ák obtained a copy of this work from one of his associates and decided to revise the music. As the work progressed, this revised music turned into an entirely new piece featuring expressive emotionalism and dynamic folk elements. The program also features George Gershwin's highly expressive and blues-oriented Lullaby for string quartet. Studying harmony, orchestration and piano with the prominent concert artist Edward Kilenyi, Gershwin composed a short work for piano as a project under his teacher's guidance. In 1919, Gershwin arranged the piece for string quartet, revealing the youthful composer, absorbed in blues, lyrical melodies and classical influences, which would ultimately bring about his better known works.

The Orion Ensemble
Founded in 1992, The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming for its critically acclaimed millennium celebration "An Inside Look at Contemporary Music," features a roster of four superb musicians--Kathryne Pirtle (clarinet), Florentina Ramniceanu (violin), Diana Schmück (piano) and Judy Stone (cello)--who have performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia, as an ensemble and individually in solo, orchestral and other chamber music roles. The Chicago Tribune called Orion "one of Chicago's most vibrant, versatile and distinctive ensembles," and the Chicago Sun-Times said Orion is "what chamber music should be all about: Individual virtuosity melded into a group personality." The Orion Ensemble is supported in part by grants from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund, the Illinois Arts Council and generous donations from its patrons. For a brief history, click here.

Performance and ticket information The Orion Ensemble's concert program "Quintessential Quintets" takes place Sunday, May 13 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Wednesday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit orionensemble.org.

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